There are many reasons to want a new Medicare plan. Maybe you want more coverage, a different type of policy, a new insurance company, or a lower monthly premium. Whatever the reason for changing, there are a few things you’ll want to know before you get started. This article will explain the ins and outs of Medicare insurance plan changes.

Making changes to your Medicare plan

You can change your policy no matter what type of policy you have, Medicare Advantage plan or Medigap. You can change your Medicare Supplement plan anytime. However, Medicare Advantage Part C plans and Part D prescription drug plans have more rules on when you can change.

With Part C and Part D, you’ll need to change your plan during a qualifying enrollment period. Including the Annual Enrollment Period, Open Enrollment Period, or Special Enrollment Period. Medicare beneficiaries new to Medicare qualify for the Initial Enrollment Period.

Outside an eligible enrollment period, you’ll be unable to change Medicare Advantage plans.

When can I change Medicare Health Insurance plans?

Beneficiaries newly eligible for Medicare will qualify for the Initial Enrollment Period. You can select a Part C or Part D policy during this time. Part C and Part D plans require changing during specific times of the year.

The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) takes place from October 15 – December 7 annually. When enrolling during AEP, coverage starts January 1 of the coming year.

Beneficiaries that aren’t happy with their Part C choice can change coverage during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) from January 1 – March 31.

Finally, a Special Enrollment Period is available when specific circumstances arise. You may be eligible to change plans if one of the following applies.

  • Recently moved
  • Involuntarily lost coverage
  • Have a 5-star Part C plan in your area
  • Another unique situation occurs
    • A licensed agent could let you know if you have a situation that would apply.

You may use the Medigap Open Enrollment Period to sign up for a Medicare Supplement policy that doesn’t require underwriting. Those with a Medigap plan can change health insurance plans anytime during the year.

Do I have to choose a new Medicare Plan?

If you’re happy with your Medicare insurance, you don’t need to change your policy. However, those with Medicare Part C or Part D should compare coverage options every AEP since these plans change.

Even Medigap enrollees should compare plans annually to ensure the policy is still the best value. Take into consideration any changes made to Medicare Part A or Part B.

Can you change Medicare plans after Open Enrollment?

You must qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to change Medicare Part D or Part C plans outside the Annual Enrollment Period or Open Enrollment Period. Changing plans is only possible in these dedicated enrollment periods.

Medigap beneficiaries can change insurance companies or plans anytime.

What are the risks of changing your Medicare coverage?

The most considerable risk in changing plans is when you need to do your due diligence. For example, a downside to Medicare Advantage plans is that you need to verify all your doctors are in the network. A policy that doesn’t cover the doctors you want can be an issue, especially if you want to keep healthcare providers the same.

Also, when selecting a Part D or Part C plan, you must be sure your medications have coverage. It’s also essential to understand how much you should expect to pay for each drug, including applicable deductibles.

Only cancel your coverage when changing from one Medigap insurance plan to another once the new policy is approved and effective. Once you leave a Medigap plan, it may be impossible to re-enroll in that policy.

All the issues mentioned above are avoidable, and our insurance agents do their due diligence to avoid them.

Does changing plans affect your Medicare prescription drug coverage?

Many Medicare Advantage plans include Part D coverage; when you change from one of these plans to another, your medication coverage changes too. Part C and Part D insurance companies can change benefits annually; benefits do change even if you don’t change plans.

However, Medigap enrollees can change plans without worrying about Part D changes.

What happens if I don’t like my Medicare Health plan?

Suppose you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Enrollment Period only to realize it wasn’t a good choice. In that case, you can change your policy during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. However, if you miss your chance to change plans, you’ll likely have to wait until the next AEP.

Medigap beneficiaries can change their medical insurance anytime, so if you’re unhappy with a Medigap plan, apply for another.

FAQ’s

Why should I change my Medicare plan?

There are a few reasons why you might consider changing your Medicare plan. Some examples include changes in your current needs, premium increases, doctor networks, and prescription drug formulary changes.

When can I change my Medicare Supplement insurance?

The best time to sign up for a Medicare Supplement is during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. The best time to change Medicare Supplement plans is when you’re eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. However, it’s possible to change anytime.

How many times can you change your Medicare plan?

There is no limit to the number of times you can change your Medicare health insurance plan.

Can I go back to my Original Medicare anytime?

When you sign up for a Medigap plan, you can drop your policy anytime and return to Original Medicare. However, Medicare Part C enrollees can only return to their Original Medicare during a qualifying enrollment period.

Do I renew my Original Medicare every year?

No, you don’t need to re-enroll in Medicare annually. Once you complete your Medicare enrollment, you don’t need to keep signing up. For many people, Medicare starts automatically.

How do I get a replacement Medicare card?

You can get a replacement Medicare card by logging into the “My Social Security” account and requesting a new one. If that option doesn’t work for you, call Medicare at 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227 tty users 1-877-486-2048).

How to Get Help Finding a New Medicare Plan

Finding a new Medicare plan is simple with the help of a licensed insurance agent. Our agents can walk you through every step to finding a new Medicare plan.

You can easily compare rates by filling out our online rate form or calling us at the number above. Let’s start by comparing the plans and companies in your area; our experts can help you today!

Written By:
Picture of the author
Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare editor for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.
Reviewed By:
Picture of the expert
Rodolfo Marrero, Rodolfo Marrero is one of the co-founders at Medigap.com. He has been helping consumers find the right coverage since the site was founded in 2013. Rodolfo is a licensed insurance agent that works hand-in-hand with the team to ensure the accuracy of the content.